Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Leo Gerard calls for an end to trade deals designed to favour the wealthy at the expense of everybody else. And Rick Salutin writes that NAFTA can't reasonably be seen as anything but:
(N)o matter how many numbers Freeland plucks to show the economy’s mighty growth in the free trade years, in those same years, most people’s lives have hardened: income stagnated; infrastructure declined; universities became debt traps — the growth was distributed entirely upward. This is politically toxic.

She said Monday, “Too many working people feel abandoned by the 21st century global economy, and have voted accordingly.” So, “We must share the fruits of trade ...” It’s “the all-important, connecting piece, the tie between free trade and equitable domestic policy … They need to advance together.”

This is not irrational, it’s just impossible. Why? Because the whole purpose of the deals was to undercut the gains of the majority, who’d benefitted since the Second World War, by shifting jobs to poorer places (like Mexico) so as to extract concessions and raise profits. Why would those who backed the deals for those reasons, give that up? Using trade deals to benefit everyone is a nice idea but, like that spider, it’s not their nature. You’re trying to reengineer their souls.
- Jeremy Nuttall explores how younger workers have been left out of any economic growth. And Angella MacEwen points out that businesses have plenty of room to offer higher wages rather than focusing solely on short-term shareholder payouts.

- Noah Smith offers a thorough set of suggestions to build a stronger and more equitable U.S. economy - with more progressive taxes and stronger social programs playing vital roles.

- But Robin Shaban highlights how the Saskatchewan Party's budget will result in a windfall for high-income residents and corporations, while forcing most workers to pay more. And Charles Hamilton reports that an emergency mental health unit funded by donations is on hold for lack of staff, forcing people with urgent mental health needs into the general emergency care system.

- Finally, Sarah Berman examines how the most basic of housing is becoming unaffordable in a large number of Canadian cities (including Regina).

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